Prepare to explore spectacular new building debuts and exhibitions that illuminate the works of artists inspired by architects, offering a closer look at how these disciplines complement and strengthen one another. Herewith, AD highlights eight unmissable openings for art and architecture buffs to enjoy.
In New York City, Wangechi Mutu inaugurates The Met’s new Façade Commission series on September 9 with the debut of the first-ever sculptural intervention on the museum’s historic edifice, a project that has been in the making at the museum for 117 years. Mutu’s sculptures, four over-lifesize seated women, are strategically placed in niches across the building’s front. Collectively titled The NewOnes, will free Us, these bronze goddesses shine with power and majesty. Inspired by the customs of high-ranking African women, each figure is wrapped in coils reminiscent of traditional African necklaces, and three of the four display large sun disks that evoke ritual piercings. These disks also reflect the power of the figures, who blaze with reflected sunlight, and recall the ancient Egyptian sun-worshipping traditions of heretic pharaoh Akhenaten. These “sentinel figures,” says Sheena Wagstaff, Leonard A. Lauder Chairman for Modern and Contemporary Art, at the sculptures’ debut, “speak of justice and open-mindedness; [they are] gatekeepers looking to the past and the future.”
Pace Gallery will unveil its new 75,000 square foot Bonetti/Kozerski Architecture–designed headquarters in New York’s Chelsea on September 14 (one of AD’s 14 Most Anticipated Buildings of 2019) with the opening of four new exhibitions selected to illustrate the gallery’s past and celebrate its future. These include the early works of Alexander Calder, displayed across the expansive 3,600-square-foot, columnless first-floor gallery, before ascending to the seventh floor to gaze up at Fred Wilson’s chandelier sculptures, which sparkle and sway from a 19-foot-high ceiling. Also on display is David Hockney’s Normandy, on the third floor, where panoramic drawings inspired by the medieval Bayeux Tapestry immerse the viewer in the beauty of Northern France in the spring. Last, but not least, is the beautifully layered paintings of young artist Loie Hollowell in her debut exhibition with the gallery. (Be sure to sneak a peek at the open art storage and 10,000-volume research library before you leave.)
On the West Coast, San Francisco’s Berggruen Gallery will open a historic Helen Frankenthaler show on September 26, drawing on its long relationship with the celebrated Color Field painter to assemble some of her most beloved and rarely seen works in its Jennifer Weiss–renovated gallery space. Weiss’s clean lines, transparent sculptural staircase, and clever use of natural light allow the paintings to shine, revealing the depth of their turpentine-thinned and poured layers of color. Moveable Blue, a panoramic painting from 1973, commands attention against the expansive white walls and natural wood floors of Weiss’s renovation. “The transformation of the 10 Hawthorne Street building stands as an architectural symbol of the interconnection of our history as a gallery and our movement forward into a fresh and relevant era,” says John Berggruen. “It is not only a fresh and welcoming space but it also offers an uncomplicated and serene environment in which to view artworks and engage with friends, staff, and the larger community.”
Further down the California coast, Korean artist Do Ho Suh will offer L.A. residents a trip inside his former New York apartment at LACMA, when 348 West 22nd Street opens on November 10. The work, a to-scale re-creation of a previous ground-floor residence of the artist, is comprised almost entirely of sheer polyester rendered in minute detail, from the sewn letters on the smoke alarm down to the knobs on the oven. The translucence of the fabric allows viewers to see through the entire space, letting them imagine the artist, and perhaps even themselves, occupying the living space.
Meanwhile, in the U.K., celebrated sculptor Antony Gormley also plays with the art of architecture in his upcoming show at London’s Royal Academy of Arts, opening on September 21. Long interested in the relationship between the body and its surroundings, Gormley will transform the galleries at the R.A. into a series of experiential environments designed to be activated by the presence of viewers. Clearing VII is composed of miles of aluminum tubing, entwined, wrapped, and arcing across the gallery to create new architectural limits, forcing the audience to recalibrate how to navigate space. Matrix II, a massive steel mesh installation that hangs just above the heads of viewers, reconstructs rooms in empty air.
Gagosian Gallery celebrates the longtime friendship of celebrated French-Chinese artist Zao Wou-Ki and storied architect I.M. Pei at its Madison Avenue gallery in New York. Opening September 9, the show begins with two ink paintings that Pei commissioned Zao to make in the late 1970s. Inspired by traditional Chinese calligraphy and the energetic style of the Abstract Expressionists, these works are a harmonious marriage of opposites. They invite viewers to seek forms and frameworks in their undulating yet purposeful lines, and illuminate Zao and Pei’s shared talent for blending modernism and tradition in new ways. “These works have never been exhibited together before,” says Jean-Olivier Despres, a director at Gagosian. In fact, only three have previously been on view to the public.
Architectural innovations also abound at the long-anticipated reopening of New York’s Museum of Modern Art, where architecture firm Diller Scofidio + Renfro has overseen the reworking and addition of more than 40,000 square feet of gallery space. The restored Bauhaus staircase immediately catches the eye, while the new Louise Reinhardt Smith Gallery allows museumgoers room to reflect beneath a Lawrence Weiner text work from 1985. Visitors will find further fodder for their architectural interests at debut exhibition Surrounds: 11 Installations, where 11 major installations by living artists will be displayed across the new building’s sixth floor.
Another museum debut recently dawned in Dessau, Germany, on September 8, as the city celebrated the centenary of the Bauhaus movement with the opening of Bauhaus Museum Dessau, dedicated to exploring the movement’s rich history. The building, designed by Barcelona-based Addenda Architects after its proposal won the museum’s open-call competition in 2015, is a glass-encased concrete cube that combines the core principles of the Bauhaus movement—minimalist beauty and harmonious functionality—with contemporary practice. Blocks of color and light, as if created by a Minimalist form of stained-glass windows, illuminate the interior and slide across its open spaces as the sun moves overhead, balancing the austerity of the concrete and glass with the warmth of nature. The collection itself offers works of art, design, and architecture inspired by the movement, which idealized the concept of a Gesamtkunstwerk, loosely translated as a “total work of art,” which surpassed the barriers between art, architecture, and design.
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